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Fantasy Breakdown: George Kittle

Updated: Apr 27, 2019

Hello Fantasy Faithfuls, last Thursday as I mentioned I was visiting Atlanta Sports 92.9 The Game . This was an incredible visit, seeing how they produce the Midday Show with Rick & John and meeting everyone involved with the show. The team was fantastic and extremely welcoming, Rick Kamla even ended up inviting me to the CONCACAF champions league game that Atlanta United played last week. I hope to continue my relationship with 92.9, Rick and John and hopefully learn more from them of what it takes to create really great sports content!

Today I will keep the focus on Tight Ends and as the title says, I will look at George Kittle to find out more about his scoring patterns and what really separates him from other Tight Ends.

We are inching closer to the release of the Fantasy Snapshot Bundle. The first two Videos have already dropped on the YouTube Channel go check it out! Let's dig in!

Kittle is not your average Tight End. I don't mean that as in wow he's great and so on, I mean that his receiving trends are very different from other Tight Ends. The average Tight End in the league sees around 18-20% of his targets in the deep zones, Kittle sees 12%. The average Tight End sees most of their targets to the Short Right and then Short Middle and at least 5% Deep Middle.

Kittle is so different from other Tight Ends with his trends that there is just no comparison, well Austin Hooper comes close in the patterns but does not have the rest of the numbers to back it up. Kittle does not have the highest of catch rates out there, he's actually below league average in every zone but the Deep Right. However, he's just below league average, 1-3% below except the Deep Left, so it is not like he's could improve this attribute a lot.

But, with around average catch rates he has the highest yards per catch in the short zones and only Mark Andrews has higher yards per catch in the deeper zones. These are some amazing numbers, especially in the Short zones. He gains so many yards on such a huge percentage of his targets that other Tight Ends can't compete. Since he rarely is targeted deep his Short zones gets the chance to rack up yards. This leads to a high floor every week, since it is not based on one or two big plays. Yards per catch is also what correlates most with fantasy scoring for TEs.

Kittle was extremely usable in 2018. He should have been started 9 games which is great even if Ebron, Kelce and Ertz all had more usable weeks. However, I would like to give Kittle a break on this one since he was playing for one of the absolute worst teams in the league and with three different Quarterbacks. Even that Kittle had some of his worse weeks with Garoppolo I believe that with him back in the lineup Kittle has every opportunity to be even better in 2019, especially since Garoppolo leans heavily on the Short zones that Kittle performs so well in.

Kittle was extremely productive on 1st and 2nd down while being league average on 3rd and 4th. This is impacted by the lack of talent on the San Francisco offense, when teams dialed up pressure on 3rd down there was less opportunity for him to get open and his production went down. He was still a good option but the whole team struggled on later downs. You can see that Kelce, who played on one of the best teams just went up, more options on his offense let's him get open more.

The quarter production is very interesting, Kelce actually follows the league average even if he is above it while Kittle goes way up average the 1st quarter to then fall back in the 4th quarter. Again, this comes back to their teams more than the players, Kelce was a part of a great offense that spread the ball, he was producing evenly all game long while Kittle was one of a few options available so when games moved on the team had to rely on him more and more.

Kittle was scoring more points at home than away. This is nothing unusual for pass catchers in general but the amount above his average is surprising. It is good for DFS to keep this in mind, some players are just more comfortable at home.

One thing I love to see is when players step up their game when they play a good defense. Kittle scores more fantasy points when he plays a top 16 pass defense.

Lastly, he does not perform any better or worse when playing a winning or losing team. He keeps scoring around his average against both bad and good teams.

Next Thursday I will be looking into Kenny Golladay and on Saturday I will be looking into how Jameis Winston and Bruce Arians fits each other on the YouTube channel!

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The spreadsheets are dark and full of terror // CSD

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